US prosecutors have charged a Belarusian man with running a Web site designed to help identity thieves exploit financial information such as card numbers.
Dmitry Naskovets, along with co-conspirator Sergey Semashko, is accused of creating the CallService.biz site in 2007, helping over 2000 identity thieves carry out over 5000 cases of fraud.
Yesterday US authorities unsealed an indictment against Naskovets after his arrest last week in the Czech Republic at their request. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, and aggravated identity theft and faces up to 39 years and six months in jail.
According to the indictment, the site helped ID thieves circumvent bank security measures to enable them to use their stolen information to make withdrawals. For a fee, Naskovets provided customers with English and German speakers who would pose as genuine account holders in telephone calls to banks for authorising transactions and transfers, unblocking accounts and changing addresses.
For example, crooks would make a request to the site, providing the name of the bank they wanted to contact, the stolen account data and biographical information the thief had illegally obtained, and instructions on what to say.
Naskovets would then assign an appropriate person - namely one who was the same gender and spoke the same language as the authorised account holder - to make the call, ensure it was made and then report back to the ID thief.
The site posted adverts for its services on other portals used by identity thieves, including CardingWorld, which was operated by Semashko, say officials.
Semashko was arrested on the same day as Naskovets in Belarus while simultaneously police in Lithuania seized the computers on which CallService.biz and CardingWorld.cc were hosted. The FBI has also seized the CallService.biz domain name.
US Attorney Preet Bharara, says: "Cybercrime poses an increasingly grave threat to American and European financial institutions and their customers. As alleged, Dmitry Naskovets's website was essentially an online bazaar for dangerous identity thieves. His website was especially dangerous because it allegedly was specifically designed to bypass the usual security measures that bank and business customers have come to rely on."